Chapter 68: Research Institute
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The sunlight was shining through the window, the room was gilded with gold, and time seemed to slow down. Lan Yu took out the payroll cards of both of them and started to calculate, writing down the figures in his hand and mumbling them.
Lu RanKong listened for a while and asked, “What are you doing?”
Lan Yu replied, “I’m calculating how much money we have.”
Lu RanKong still had a towel over his eyes, “Did you figure it out?”
“I think so.” Lan Yu read out a number and asked, “We have many credits left, so with my retirement money, we can buy a house.”
“Buy a house for what?” Lu RanKong asked curiously.
Lan Yu continued to do the math and said, “What do you mean ‘Buy a house for what’? Are we going to live in a barracks dorm all the time? Besides, I’m going to retire from the military, so I have to have a house after I retire, even though it doesn’t matter where I live…”
He didn’t say the words ‘but the baby needs to have a stable home’.
Lu RanKong listened to him, removed the towel from his eyes and, as if amused, just lay there, watching him with interest. Then he reached out to touch Lan Yu’s face, but was slapped away with a hand.
“Don’t block my eyes, I’m doing the math.” Lan Yu said.
Lu RanKong said, “Don’t do the math, we don’t need to buy a house.”
Lan Yu ignored him and continued to do the math.
“I have a lot of houses, I really don’t need to buy one.” Lu RanKong said.
Lan Yu turned away from the floating screen in front of him and asked, “Lots of houses?”
“Yes, a lot.” Lu RanKong said. Seeing Lan Yu looking at him skeptically, he sat up and said, “You can live anywhere you want after you retire and you can settle on any planet you want.”
“Is it a real house that belongs to you, where people can live?” Lan Yu asked.
Lu RanKong thought for a moment and said, “I think all of them can be inhabited.”
“I haven’t seen them, and I don’t know if they’re livable. There are other things besides the property, some of which my mother left me and some of which were given to me by my family.” Lu RanKong lay down again, pillowed on Lan Yu’s lap and said, “What’s mine is yours, so there’s no need to go buy a house.”
The last time Lu RanKong came home, Lan Yu and he had a video call and it was clear that his family was well off, but he didn’t expect him to have property on every planet.
Lan Yu used to be a movie star, not sensitive to the amount of money, and if they didn’t earn equally, he also didn’t care, so when heard Lu RanKong say there was a house, he naturally no longer worried about it. He no longer needed to calculate the money to buy a house and was relieved, so he peacefully put away the terminal.
“Is there one on Zata Planet?” He asked.
Lu RanKong said, “I think so, I’m not sure.”
“If you stay on Zata Planet after I retire, then I’ll stay here too.” Lan Yu said.
Lu RanKong rolled over again, opened the terminal in his hand, and said, “Let me see if there’s anything on Zata Planet.”
He searched the virtual screen for a while, put his arm around Lan Yu and gave him a kiss, “There’s one in Bell City.”
“So will you stay in the military after I retire?” Lan Yu asked him.
Lu RanKong should have thought about this question and replied without thinking, “If you have any plans for me to participate after you retire, I will retire, if not, I will stay in the army until the end of my term.”
Lan Yu thought about it and said, “I don’t have any idea what I’m going to do after I retire, so I’ll talk about it then.”
He wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue acting, but if not, it would be nice to open a café or something.
The two stayed in the house all afternoon, talking and kissing, and before they knew it, it was dark, and after Lu RanKong was complimented on his cooking at noon, he wanted to continue cooking dinner, but Lan Yu politely refused.
“We’ve been in the house all day. We should go for a walk, so let’s go to the dining hall and have dinner.”
Lu RanKong thought it was okay, so the two of them went out of the house.
When he entered the dining room, Lan Yu saw that his exclusive window seat was already occupied by a few officers, so he thought that he had come less recently and finally someone was willing to sit in that seat. But the moment they saw him enter, the several officers picked up their plates and went to another empty table.
“Look, look, this is how you used to be.” Lu RanKong whispered in his ear. Looking up at Lan Yu’s expression, he added, “Of course, I know now that it was all an illusion.”
Lan Yu thought, That’s not an illusion, the old K is so unreasonable, but he didn’t fight, so he sat down at that table.
The officers’ dining room was self-service, so Lu RanKong naturally took two plates at the window, filled them with Lan Yu’s favorite dishes, brought them back, and then went to get a plate for his dessert. The officers were quiet, no one said anything, their eyes hovered between him and Lan Yu, the whole atmosphere of the canteen was unusually weird.
Lan Yu saw that Lu RanKong obviously didn’t notice this, or didn’t care, and was frowning at the several cakes, seriously thinking, finally picking up a piece of chestnut cake.
Lu RanKong came back and put the cake in front of Lan Yu, saying, “There are strawberry cakes and mango cakes, but I chose this chestnut for you.”
He said and sat down opposite him.
The two of them started to eat, Lan Yu bit off the lean meat, and the remaining half piece of fatty meat was naturally taken away by Lu RanKong and fed into his mouth. The sound of a chair tipping over rang out in the dining room, and an officer rose from the floor with a red face.
“You’re not going to eat this either? There’s no fat on it.” Lu RanKong couldn’t help but ask when he saw Lan Yu plucking a piece of chicken to the side of his dinner plate.
“This part is too old, I don’t like it.” Lan Yu wrinkled his nose.
Lu RanKong moved the piece of chicken onto his own plate and said, “Petulant and picky.” Then he pushed his own plate over, “You’re short on vegetables, take mine.”
The two exchanged dishes, not noticing that everyone had stopped eating and their eyes were focused on them, until Lan Yu found the canteen was surprisingly quiet. Surprised, he turned his head to look, and everyone again lowered their heads and ate.
When the meal was over, Lu RanKong complained in a low voice that the food wasn’t as good as his own cooking. As they were talking, Lan Yu’s terminal rang, and it was the special sound for the military department’s urgent order.
After the two of them looked at each other, Lu RanKong stopped talking and his face sank, saying, “Open it…”
Lan Yu clicked on the terminal, Lu RanKong came over to look at it with him, and then sighed, “I fucking knew that Liu Deng, that old fox, wouldn’t let you retire in peace and would try to squeeze you for a while. We just went on leave, and then you’re being given new tasks.”
Lan Yu looked down at the terminal and didn’t say anything, there was only one line on it: urgent mission, go to the general command room. He turned off the terminal and said, “You go back first, I’ll go to the command room.”
“I’ll go with you.” Lu RanKong said. He took two steps forward and realized Lan Yu wasn’t following him, so he turned around and raised an eyebrow.
“I’ll just go by myself, you go back.” Lan Yu said.
“I’m going to stay with you, I’ll just be around to listen.”
Lan Yu saw that he insisted on going, so he hesitated, “Then don’t argue when you come.”
“I won’t argue, at most I’ll smash up his general command room.” Lu RanKong said. Seeing that Lan Yu still didn’t move, he sighed and said, “I won’t. Don’t worry, I’m a soldier, and soldiers know how to obey orders.”
When the door of the general command room was pushed open, Lan Yu was surprised to find not only Liu Deng inside, but also two men in suits sitting on the sofa. Everyone he saw in the barracks was in military uniform, and it was a bit uncomfortable to see suits here.
“This is Colonel K, right?” The man on the far left of the couch got up immediately upon seeing him and extended his hand somewhat carefully. This was a short, fat, middle-aged man who didn’t look like a soldier in either size or temperament. The young man with him also didn’t look uncommon, wearing a pair of glasses, face white from being indoors often and his body was also very weak.
Lan Yu maintained his usual indifferent persona, eyes half-lidded looking at the hand, just when the middle-aged man was about to retreat, he just barely reached out and touched him.
The man hurriedly withdrew his hand and looked behind him at Lu RanKong, smiling and saying, “This is…”
Liu Deng looked at Lu RanKong who followed up the command room, his face didn’t show any surprise, he only smiled and introduced, “This is our Lu RanKong, Colonel Lu.”
“Colonel Lu ah…” The middle-aged man said with surprise and joy, “General Liu said you had just finished your mission and might not be in the barracks, but I didn’t expect to see you here.”
He said and extended his hand to Lu RanKong.
Lu RanKong was a little angry at this man for interrupting Lan Yu’s vacation, so he ignored the hand with a sullen face and walked straight to the single sofa next to the coffee table and sat down, leaning on the back of the sofa and putting his legs up on the coffee table.
Then pointed to the opposite sofa and said to Lan Yu, “Sit down, don’t stand.”
Lan Yu then walked over and sat down opposite him.
The middle-aged man withdrew his hand and went back to sit on the sofa, and Liu Deng said to him, “Chief Wang, now that the people are here, you should introduce the situation to Colonel K and Colonel Lu.”
Lu RanKong was leaning against the back of the sofa with his eyes closed, and when he heard Liu Deng mention him naturally, he lifted his eyelids and looked at him.
Liu Deng said, “Where are you putting your feet? Is this the general command room or your dormitory?”
Lu RanKong slowly removed leg from the coffee table.
Lan Yu sat on the sofa and didn’t move, though his face was expressionless and his eyes were downcast, he also looked fine.
The director originally thought that Colonel K was difficult to get along with, and Colonel Lu would be much kinder, but he didn’t expect that Colonel K, who was rumored to have an uncertain temperament, would be easier to approach.
He introduced himself, “Colonel K, my name is Wang Yu and I am the director of a research institute on Sasu Planet. Our institute is a subordinate organization of the Ministry of Military Affairs, and we mainly develop medicines for the military, which are classified as a first-class institution.”
He paused, and when he saw that Lan Yu had no intention to ask questions, he turned his head to look at Lu RanKong. Lu RanKong was still sitting on the sofa with his head resting on the back of the chair, seeming to be falling asleep.
He only looked at the young man beside him and said, “Xiao Liu, tell Colonel K and Colonel Lu about that.”
This small Liu should be his assistant, refined wearing a pair of glasses, seeing as Lan Yu and Lu RanKong didn’t look at him, he opened his mouth and closed it, then looked at Director Wang for help.
Liu Deng sat behind his desk and said, “Say it, they both will listen, they are normally like this.”
Xiao Liu answered and said with restraint, “We have a group leader in charge of research and development in the institute called Kabul. Last Wednesday night, October 13, he was in the data room in the middle of the night to check the data and was discovered by the institute’s security.”
Director Wang added, “Kabul entered the institute at two o’clock in the middle of the night and was discovered by a security guard on patrol. Although he was the head of the R&D team, it was unusual for him to enter the building in the middle of the night, and because of the high level of secrecy in our institute, everyone was very alert, so several security guards rushed in just as he started reading the data.”
Lan Yu heard this and lifted his eyes to give him a faint look.
Director Wang then continued on his own, “Kabul said he didn’t know what was going on and passed out. When I arrived at the Institute, he had already been taken to the hospital and had just come to his senses. The strange thing about this is that the doctor said he was taking an anesthetic drug that suppresses mental power. That kind of drug is normally used for minor surgery, and there was no way Kabul could have been awake during that time to go to the lab and open the safe to look at the data.”
Lu RanKong kept his eyes closed and leaned back on the sofa with his arms clasped, and after hearing that, he also opened his eyes. Lan Yu and him exchanged a quick glance, and each had more than a suspicion in their hearts.
Wang continued, “Because Kabul kept saying he didn’t know why he was in the lab, and the doctor could prove he should be in a coma, we pulled the surveillance of that time.” Chief Wang stopped here and tapped the terminal on his wrist, and a surveillance video surfaced in the air. “The lab and outside surveillance were turned off, only this surveillance was hidden behind the fire extinguishing device, so it wasn’t discovered, and this was recorded.”
Lan Yu and Lu RanKong both stared at the video, which showed a deserted corridor. Although it was night, they could also see clearly.
“There will be someone right away, right away.” Chief Wang, obviously worried that they would be impatient, explaining as he fast-forwarded. He stopped fast-forwarding when the time in the lower right corner read 03:05, and just a dozen seconds later, a man came from the other end of the passage.
“This is Kabul.” Chief Wang introduced.
Lan Yu watched the video intently and saw Kabul pass by those doors, stop at the door of one of the labs, and after scanning through the information lock, looked around and pushed the door into the room. He had just closed the door when another person appeared at the end of the passage, looking that way, dressed like a security guard.
The security guard only looked at it and left the passage to call someone.
Sure enough, in a short while, several more security guards came, and after they crept to the door, they violently pushed it open and poured in.
The only thing left in the video was the empty corridor and the wide open lab door.
But Lan Yu knew that the next unusual picture would appear, and watched without averting his gaze.
At the same time, Director Wang and Xiao Liu both showed a nervous look.
About half a minute later, a green figure flashed out of the cavernous doorway, still with a vague shadow, flew to the entrance of the passage, turned, and disappeared from the picture.
Director Wang turned off the terminal and didn’t speak, Xiao Liu rubbed his hands on his knees and from time to time and glanced at Lan Yu and Lu RanKong.
“So, you have a Lontan person mixed in your institute?” asked Lu RanKong calmly.
Director Wang replied, “It’s not exactly a mix-in, just a temporary borrowing of Kabul’s body.”
“Then why did he run away?” Lu RanKong suddenly asked, “Lontan people can control the body, are good at disguise, and could deal with a few security guards is easy. Why would he escape? The Lontan person can take over the body of a researcher, so it’s not necessary to go to such trouble.”
“I don’t know, I’ve never seen a real Lontan person,” Wang said vaguely.
Lan Yu suddenly asked, “What exactly does your institute study?”
Director Wang said, “Just some common pharmaceuticals, such as pheromone restorers for the military and psychotropic supplements—”
“Director Wang, if you want to hide something, then we can also refuse to accept this mission.” Lu RanKong suddenly spoke up and coldly interrupted him.
“Well…” Chief Wang looked at Liu Deng with some difficulty, hoping that he could say something to help him. But Liu Deng didn’t look at him, only stared at the teacup in his hands, as if to count the number of squares printed on it.
Lu RanKong stood up and said to Lan Yu, “Come on, let’s go back to the dorm.”
Lan Yu also stood up and went to get the military cap that was sitting on the coffee table.
Chief Wang added, “After I reported the news to the military headquarters, the military headquarters sent me to Zata Planet, directly to Colonel K and Colonel Lu to report the situation, saying that you two are very experienced in catching Lontan people.”
Lu RanKong said coldly, “You didn’t provide us with the real situation, so we don’t need to catch a Lontan person. If you have any comments, go to the military department yourself.”
Seeing that the two men really didn’t hesitate to walk towards the door, Chief Wang turned his head to look at Liu Deng.
Liu Deng continued to look at his cup of tea, as if he hadn’t heard the conversation over there.
“Our institute is developing a mental body stabilizer that can be produced in large quantities. In order to safeguard the research process without mistakes, several key personnel who have access to the data have taken the stabilizer, so the Lontan person could only anesthetize Kabul’s mental body and had to escape after being discovered.” The director Wang steeply exclaimed.
Lan Yu hadn’t heard of the mental body stabilizer, but he side-eyed the person next to him and found that Lu RanKong’s expression changed and his footsteps stopped, so he also stood still without moving. He asked, “A mental body stabilizer that can be mass-produced?”